Friday, July 21, 2017

Topsy Turvy

Well, the girls are not going to be as short term as we were told. I know, not a big surprise in the foster care world. In one brief meeting and their case exploded and became a totally different case. Yes, it went topsy turvy. It is not unusual for this to happen. Many of the kids we adopted were supposed to be short term; Anthony, Larissa, Benjamin and even Kassi were all short term placements.

These girls have extended family so it is a wait and see as to where they may go. They moved from out of state so they may become another transfer case like our Itty Bitty. In the meantime I am working on trying to get the 5 year old enrolled in school without a birth certificate because they don't have one. Always something new.

I am also trying to get the girls a wardrobe and I am struggling. Cost isn't the issue, although a consideration, shorts are the problem. Both girls wear the same size shorts and for school they must go beyond their fingertips. So, no short shorts. Folks, at this time of the year that is a challenge. Seems like the longer, Bermuda shorts cost more than the short shorts. If I find them as a reasonable price I haven't been able to find them in their size. Ah, the challenge of finding modest clothing for girls.

A first for us, the 5 year old lost her first tooth. We were at the orthodontist and he gave her a $2 bill and a plastic tooth container to put her tooth in. We did the tooth fairy thing and I have the tooth. I guess I am supposed to get that to their mother somehow. First time we have had a foster kid lose their first tooth while at our house. I don't know what their family traditions are for that so we just went with ours.

Itty Bitty is doing well and no changes in his case. We are playing the waiting game with him as he is attaching to us. He is getting where he cries when other people pick him up. He is such a sweet baby and gets lots of loving. He is trying hard to roll over, his arm gets in the way. So fun to watch the growth.

Paw Patrol

Late posting this, before hair cut activity, haha

Benjamin and I went to a Paw Patrol show together. I had bought the tickets months ago because he is crazy for PawPatrol. I enjoyed spending some one on one time with him. We had to drive to Augusta and he did great. He has never been one to fall asleep in the car so he kept me company driving there and coming home late.


It was actually a good show. He was very much involved in it.




He was a very enthusiastic cheer leader.






He enjoyed meeting some of the characters.




Anyone else with a Paw Patrol fan?


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Elder Care

My mom has been on my mind a lot lately. My mom is slowly declining. I know that she will not get any better. I am well aware of her health and condition. I am at the point where I am not sure what to do because I don't know what the impact will be on Benjamin. He has a very close relationship with my mom. He goes into her room and helps to take care of her. They very much love each other.

After her last hospital visit her doctor wanted to put her in hospice care so that she didn't have to go through that experience again. The pain and procedures are not what she would want. I ended up not putting her in hospice because she would lose her caregiver.

Her doctor said that if she got sick again to not call an ambulance but to contact her to put her in hospice care. She said she would do a house visit to do that. However, I worry that my kids would perceive that as me not taking care of my mom. Would they think I am killing her?

My expectation has been that she would stay home until she passed away. Now that Benjamin is older he goes into her room without me being aware of it. What if she passes and he goes in and is the one that finds that. I think he would believe that she is sleeping. How would my other kids react to grandma dying in the house?

Am I overthinking this? Will I be causing extra hurt to my kids? Anyone else deal with this?

Eating My Words

I know, I said we were taking local kids from now on. That was our intention.

My husband and I sit down when we have an opening and discuss what we will say yes to. That way when they call if they hit what we have discussed then I can say yes immediately. If it is out of our parameters then I can say no easier.  We discussed it and decided that we really wanted some kids ages 4-6, we felt that might be a good fit. We find the 2-3 year old kiddos really disrupt Benjamin.

We received a call for two kids ages 1 and 2. Young 1 and 2. I said no, they were local kids too. I very much dislike saying no but young 1 and 2 would be too much.

Next we received a call for two girls ages 4 and 5. Within our age parameters but not local. Actually further away than the last kids. We don't transport so I decided to forego the local limit and go with the age group we agreed on. I did ask them if they were sure that they couldn't find a closer placement. They said that we were the closest foster family that would take two kids. Two hours away!  Two hours later they were at our door.

We were told that this will actually be a very short term placement. There is no drugs involvement and from what they tell me I tend to agree. They are fitting in great. Benjamin plays well with them and they are loving all our toys.

If things happen quickly I was told that they could possibly go home at the 72 hour hearing.  That means Monday. If they go home you get no clothing allowance. That is why it is good to garage shop throughout the year and have some clothing available. I got rid of all my stocks of clothing and miss them! The girls came with a basket of clothing, most of it useless at this time. On the top were winter coats. What is up with the winter clothing? There were about 5 t-shirts and the rest was winter clothing and boy clothing. I asked if they had a brother and they said no. I got the impression that this was their clothing. I need to ask on Monday. Most of it I repacked and put away to send back. I then went shopping for a few outfits. They didn't have any pj's or shorts. If they stay past the 72 hour hearing then we will get the $100 placement clothing allowance.

If this is really a short term placement I will be curious to see what short term is. The 5 year old will start kindergarten next month and I hate that she will have to transfer school. That is a disadvantage of placing out of county.

So, yes, I am eating my words.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Boys and their Toys

I am still decluttering. Actually I had to take a break but I am back at it while I am able to get into closets. I took some bags to Goodwill and stepped in because you never know what kind of bargain you can find. Oh, I know, what good is it to purge if you go inside and get more!

Benjamin saw a big wheel. He wanted it so badly. It looked too big to me, I didn't think his feet would reach the pedals so I thought I was safe in telling him he could get it if he could get it to go.  Silly me.


He also found a helmet while riding around. The total was under $10 .


Yes, it is sitting inside our house. 

Jason just had to try out the new ride. He had something similar many years ago.


He offered to show Benjamin how to "peel out" in our dining room.


I don't think that boys ever really grow up, their toys just get bigger and more expensive.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hair cut

I got out the clippers to cut hair. My plan was to trim Benjamin's hair since it was getting so long and hot. Well, he wanted it all shaved off. Yes, he knew what that meant. Yes, he loves it. No, I had no idea that I would make so many women upset with me! 

I am pretty sure it will grow back. It should still be orange although he wants it to grow back in blue.

Since we had a hairless head to work with (and I must say he has a nice shaped head) we decided to have some fun. I looked up airbender with Benjamin and he wanted to do it so I got our my blue marker.......


 




Jason copied this pose and submitted it to Reddit and asked for some photoshopping.




We had a lot of fun with it and he has a fun memory. His arrow came off in the pool later in the day. I kind of liked it, added character.



Silence

The kids left on Friday. Our home is strangely silent. On Saturday all of us sat around almost as though we didn't know what to do with ourselves. It isn't often that we have kids moved. It is a very hard decision for our family but is something that we all discuss and understand the reasons.

Later in the afternoon I decided that we needed to get out. We didn't do much spontaneous trips while the kids were here. I went to take a shower, yes that bad of a day, and told everyone to get around, we were going out for dinner. We went to Mod Pizza and had a very nice time.





Afterwards we went to Target for a few things and then back home. Life is so much simpler with just the extra Itty Bitty. Is it strange that simpler is only 6 kids in the house?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Changes

Well, Itty will be with us a while longer. Grandmother in state did not pass the homestudy so now they are looking at a grandmother out of state. Apparently they don't work with the state he will be going to too often and they are telling us that it could be anywhere between 6 and 12 months before he moves. He could be more than a year old and then move out of state into a home with someone he has never met. Honestly, that sucks. We love it when our foster kids can go to family but it shouldn't take so long if it is a good placement. Paperwork, ugh. The older he gets the harder it will be for him.

Our other two are getting moved Friday. Little man was supposed to go to a home that can devote more time to him and all the services he will need. That home wanted his sister as well and we can't blame them, we like to keep siblings together when possible ourselves. They asked if the foster mom could call me to prepare for them. I said of course and she did call.

She was asking me some questions that led me to ask if she had been fostering long. Nope, this is her first placement. Ugh. It is hard to express the challenges she will have with this little one. When you say if his feet touches the ground he runs, then people think that is normal toddler behavior. I took him to the doctors in an umbrella stroller. He pushed against the straps holding him in so hard that he got it loose enough that he could stand. He couldn't run because of the attached stroller. The doctor was watching him and said that he needs to always be in a stroller or buy a harness for him. I learned to have him in a stroller because of his hearing appointment. By time I left the office I was drenched in sweat. He doesn't want held and is constantly pushing against you and making his dissatisfied sounds. If you let him down he is gone, fast, and doesn't stop or look back. If someone opens a door he is running out of it. It is scary and tiring to run full speed through doctor offices.

We are still waiting on an appointment for the autism screening but every person who deals with children and delays express their opinion that he is on the spectrum. When I say that he has no words I was told by the foster mom that she was told he had delays in language. Yes, his sister has delays in her language. She has language and it is delayed. He has no language, he does not have a single word he uses, he does not point or in any way communicate what he wants. He will screech to let you know that he wants something but he doesn't give you a clue as to what that is.

When I talk of the challenges I can tell that I am not believed. I am not sure if it is the way I am communicating it or if they think that I am exaggerating the problems. It is frustrating. I hate to think that they will be moved around a lot because no one is prepared for his behaviors. We really don't like that they are being moved but for our family it is best. We have a large family and have to balance the needs of our kids against the needs of the foster children. We are not a therapeutic home or a medical home. We are prepared to deal with normal delays in regards to neglect. We are prepared to deal with certain behaviors but there are some that we cannot tolerate, harming children and animals in our home is one of them. Our first rule is do no harm to our children in the home. I am at peace with this move but it has taken me a while. It is hard. These decisions are not made lightly. Pray for our little ones, all of them, they are dealing with the consequences of their parents bad decisions, addictions, in all our foster children in our home at this time....meth.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Delicious

Where have I been? Busy, busy, busy. Tomorrow night, I will post. 

In the meantime can you spot the difference?





Monday, June 26, 2017

Finding Balance

Slowly we are finding our balance. Going anywhere requires a lot of coordination. We do employ the buddy system specifically for safety reasons. The kids all buddy up when going to the car and leaving the car. When we get to our location my husband and I take over. We simply don't have enough hands to hold crossing the street! 

Ypday was my birthday so we went to San Jose to eat. We took all the kids and two cars in case John had to take anyone home early. He didn't, all the kids did great.


The weather here has been wetter than usual. We work to get in swim times. All the kids love to get in the pool. 





Vaida continues to come and spend her one night a week at Mimi's house.


Our kitten is growing up fast!


Anthony and Larissa took it upon themselves to make some slime. They looked it up themselves, gathered the ingredients and even cleaned up by themselves. Growing up on me.


Benjamin is working hard on learning to swim. If you listen to the video at the end he tells me he loves me mostest. Such a sweetie.



We feel like we are in a holding pattern. Itty Bitty is supposed to be going to his grandmas in state and the other two have an aunt out of state who wants them. Grandma spoke up very quickly for Itty so I am wondering how much long it will be. Seems like it shouldn't take months, it has been almost a month already. The out of state will be quite a while from what I understand, we have never had that happen before so I am not sure. Guess we will learn.

Tomorrow, update on Emma and Michelle. Trying to get my gumption up to write about those struggles.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Foster Care Placements

When we fostered before all of our placements were in county. In the short time we stopped fostering they changed how they place children. They now have regions, sort of. Actually it seems like a free for all, whoever they can find and it doesn't matter how far away they are.

When we took Itty Bitty it wasn't bad, two counties over, a little less than an hour away. Close enough that we took him to his first visitation. If I had to I could have taken him to his doctor. Still it is an annoyance. His social worker picked him up for his last visit. As soon as she got there the family called and cancelled so she immediately turned around and returned him to us. Her time wasted - almost 4 hours and no visit occurred.

Then we received our other placement. They were working their way further and further away to find a home. We are almost 2 hours away. So far they have only had one visitation because, well, the parents are in jail. That one visit was an all day affair. As far as doctors, nope, I am not taking my brood 2 hours away for a doctor appointment. There will lots of doctor appointments because the mother says that they are behind on shots. In order to see a doctor around here you have to have the medical records first. I have called several places that take their insurance and have been told the same by everyone. Also, when you request records they have 30 days to send them! That means that we are relegated to urgent care or emergency room for everything. Makes it kind of hard to get that initial exam. When kids were in county it was easy, just take them to their doctor.

We are in a learning curve, no kids over 5 and they must be less than 1 hour away.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Struggles

Well, Little Man passed his hearing test. This means that he can totally ignore a cow bell and isn't responding to anyone calling his name and has no words for reasons other than a hearing problem. This leaves the autism screening. I called the lady from Babynet who evaluated him and told her that he passed the hearing test. She said this means he is on the spectrum. This took me back to the very first text I sent to his social worker, "has anyone mentioned autism with him?" She seemed shocked at the suggestion. Honestly I was hoping it was a hearing problem.

I have been struggling with the question of whether we could manage him and everything else we have going on in our house. Our entire lifestyle has changed. We love to eat out but have only taken him to Chic Fil A, he barely handles that so we don't go anywhere else. While in public he has to be restrained in some way. If his feet touch the ground he is bolting and he is fast. I was sweating by time I got back from the hearing test because holding him is not easy, he is constantly pulling from you. I let him down once and he bolted. Running through the office is not fun. If a door were open to the outside he would go and never look back no matter how much you were screaming at him.

At home someone must always have an eye on him. He loves to climb and fall and he doesn't care how high or what he is falling on. Yesterday he developed a passion for climbing onto the computer table. After one fall and many times taken off we put him in the play pen. The play pen is a struggle because the entire time he is in there he is screeching. However, we know he is safe.

We try to contain him within the family room. This is a 500 sq ft area. However, it is hard. The little ones open the gate and leave it open often. He is not safe wandering the house. He has a fascination for breaking glasses. He puts everything in his mouth. He loves to climb and drop. He puts himself into danger and doesn't know it, over and over with the same things. If someone were to leave the front door open it would be a huge problem.

We have been told that a relative out of state has spoken up and wants the kids. I do not know how long an ICPC takes but I know that it isn't quick. I also worry that she will not be prepared to take all the kids. The family had no idea that Little Man even had any struggles.

Little Miss is doing great. She calls us mom and dad and fits right in. She did qualify for services which is great for her because I feel that she could use the extra speech services. Moving her at this time to a different placement would be detrimental for her.

Our home is not a therapeutic home or a medical home. Those homes take fewer children and are paid quite a bit more than we are. They have more training and are prepared to deal with children with special needs.

When children come into care DSS really doesn't know much about them. This is something to consider when looking at ages. You don't know what behaviors you will have, neither does DSS.  We had to have the older sibling moved because of safety concerns for our pets and younger children. Some things were seen on the hallway camera upstairs and by my children. DSS had no way of knowing that we would have those types of issues. When new kids come into your home and you have children already in the home you have to quickly access the kids and be hyper-vigilant in keeping them safe. When kids walk in the door they may have a honeymoon period or simply be in shock about all the changes in their lives. As they get more comfortable you can see how they are doing.

Typically with neglect there is some type of delay. I see a lot of speech delays and less gross motor skills delays. Little Miss has only speech delays, Little Man on the other hand has global delays. When Babynet showed up they had a lot of questions. Even though we had only had the kids a short time, my correct answer of the questions helps to get a better assessment.

At this time we are trying to make adjustments in our home and expectations so that we can keep the kids until the ICPC is complete. However, I don't think that we could keep them long term, we would all be too exhausted.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Progress

Babynet came today to evaluate all three of our foster kids. Itty Bitty was easy, he is on target. He is reaching for toys, smiling and chatting.

My only concern for Little Miss is her speech. The evaluation showed that she is on target in all areas except for speech. However, to qualify for services she has to be 40% off the norm.  If you have two areas with deficits then each has to be 25% off. It was hard to tell if she .qualifies for speech services yet. She told me she would plug in the numbers and let me know later in the week.

Little Man, well she didn't do much testing with him. She watched him a few minutes, asked a few questions and said that he qualifies for services. She mentioned autism, I mentioned my concern about hearing. She brought out a big cow bell and rang it, he ignored the obnoxious noise. So she is recommending a hearing evaluation and an autism evaluation. She handed me a copy of service providers and said she would call me Friday to see which one I want to go with.

She left after noon and I wondered if the Urgent Care place I went to was not going to come through. I nagged the foster worker and she said that she will have the medical records by the end of the month. Apparently when requesting medical records they have 30 days to provide them. Surely they don't have many records.

Later in the afternoon I did receive a call from the doctors office. Their computer system had been down all morning and they couldn't access anything. We talked for a bit and I said that at this time I really needed a hearing test to rule out or confirm that hearing was an issue. She said that she would get him a hearing test and asked for his foster care workers name and number. She said she would call me back. I have gotten so skeptical about people calling back that I was shocked when she did. She actually called back with an appointment to get a hearing test tomorrow! I called my husband and had him take half a day off so I could take Little Man. A hearing test isn't something you can drag an extra 7 kids to.

Anyone do hearing tests for their children? I wonder if you get the results at that time or they make you come back for them later. I don't have a primary doctor for them to send them to!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Frustration


I have been so frustrated. Since day one I have been working on getting the kids to the doctor. Every doctor in the area that takes their insurance has net been willing to see my foster kids unless I have medical records. I have told them that I really need my 20 month old seen and some referrals. So sorry, without medical records they can't see him. I have nagged DSS, nagged the investigative worker, the assigned social worker, the GAL. I have sent them videos of why I need the records. So far no records.

Since I am questioning his level of hearing I figured that at least getting his ears checked for obstructions at the local walk-in acute care place would at least rule out something. Last night I took him in. He has no obstructions in the ears and the doctor does agree that he needs some referrals. However, he couldn't do that, he says the primary doctor needs to do that. He is pushing for a doctor to see him. He told me that they would call me today. Babynet is also coming today and I will be curious to see what she says.

When we took kids from our own county we didn't have this problem. We simply took the kids to their existing doctor. We were able to get shot records and histories very easily. I don't have shot records or anything. I am beginning to wonder if he has even been seen anywhere! The biomom has admitted that he is behind in his shots and has given three places that they took the kids to.

He sure can ignore. He is 20 months old. Anyone have a child who consistently does that?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Deep Creek Continued

Saturday was a beautiful day. Before we left for Deep Creek rain was forecasted for every day. That didn't happen. If you look carefully at the pictures of the kids in the creek you will see lines of rocks. Those close in a space for the kids to play.






The water is very cold, warming up in the sun is required after playing in it.


We took our tubes and the kids took turns letting it just a little up stream and then floating to our area.


Anyone waiting to take their turn helped to grab friends/family floating by.





Ethan grabbing his daughter and Larissa. Larissa took Benjamin and then Vaida down the little route.


Sending a group down the river from the park.




Benjamin sat in my lap. He went last year but the creek put him to sleep. This year he was a big helper, using his stick to try and keep us away from the rocks.

If you put in at the beginning of the park there really isn't anywhere to flip over. If you walk up the trail and put in turning over is a possibility. Since I had Benjamin I wasn't willing to chance flipping over. However, when you get stuck on the rocks it is hard to get off of them! It isn't easy to get in and out with a kid on your lap. You need support.




Larissa was a huge help for me. She helped me out of several hard spots!


Our trip this year was very short but great fun. We got to spend some great time with family and friends who are like family. The little ones got to play in the water and various play areas. The older kids who weren't under restriction got to have a little more freedom and the adults got to play and visit with each other. We are hoping to go back next year after Tasha graduates.